|Day 13 - Canyonlands National Park, UT
||[Aug. 19th, 2004|10:00 pm]
(Note that the overnight was at Arches again)|
Trip Odometer: 3713 mi
38°25’N, 109°55’W [one spot in Canyonlands, overnight same as yesterday]
Woke up this morning and made a breakfast of fried eggs to help rescue the last of our bread from being smooshed out of existence in the back of the car. We then threw some ballast into the tent (incase of further wind, despite the fact that overnight had been fine)
We visited the Island In the Sky section of Canyonlands, which is really the only non-backcountry section of the park. There are two others, the Needles and the Maze. Needles is suitable if you have a 4x4 and want to take it off-road, and the Maze is for the extreme backcountry expedition enthusiast.
I think if I had the time (or the 4x4) to take advantage of the other two sections of the park, I might have liked it more. As it was, I wasn’t very impressed or excited by it. Sure, the views were stunning, but that was all there was – lots of overlooks. The hikes weren’t terribly interesting by themselves either. And, after a good number of days in national parks, overlooks are becoming pretty passé. If the overlook isn’t absolutely stunning from the car, I’m probably not going to stop.
That said, we did visit Upheaval Dome which is a plain bizarre geologic formation, you really have to see it to understand why its so strange – its completely out of place in the park, and geologists haven’t decided if it was a meteor or some other geologic activity that formed it. The hike there was interesting too, it was pretty steep and we forgot to change into hiking boots before taking it. Oops, lesson learned (I never really appreciated hiking boots until I did this hike in sneakers accidentally).
We also went to a number of nice overlooks, including one of the Green River before it joins the Colorado (later in the park) and one at “Grandview Point” which included about a mile hike around the rim of the mesa that creates “Island in the Sky” This hike was certainly worth it, since it offered a variety of views of the canyons below, and wasn’t a completely steep hike all the way.
We also took a hike to “Mesa Arch” that was pretty sort, and given that we had been in Arches National Park the previous day, wasn’t that interesting on its own.
We also forgot about lunch when going to this park – it doesn’t have a restraunt or even a snack bar like the others, so we left a little early and went into Moab, UT for supplies before returning to Arches for dinner.
When we did get back to Arches we decided to take another hike out to “Broken Arch” that left and returned to the campground. This was a fun hike through varied terrain including a pretty narrow canyon area just after we passed through the arch itself. We also ran into a very fustrated mother with 2 over-excited kids who liked running around the arch and taking pictures a lot. Nothing dangerous, just looked like they had been given too much sugar…
Dinner was fairly simple with hot dogs and sautéed onions. Aftewards we went to another depressing “ranger” (it was actually done by a volunteer, not a ranger) program that was actually worse than last nights. The presenter was a clear candidate for the tin-foil-hat club given that his talk was about plants and he was telling us that he hoped we remembered what he said so that we’d know what to eat when the economy collapsed and we found ourselves in the middle of the desert.
I hope the Mesa Verde rangers are better, I’m looking forward to that park the most, I think, and its tomorrow.